Best of the Fests: Our Roundup of Summertime Festivals Should Help Your Calendar

Sean Lennon and Les Claypool
Sean Lennon and Les Claypool

Summer can be more accurately called "festival season" around Northeast Ohio. We like our fests, and we lather up the calendar with a wide-ranging host of fun, multi-day events. There's something for everybody out there, but, we know, it can get a bit overwhelming as you're trying to plan out the months ahead. Here's a tidy list of the best of the best this summer, so you can choose how to maximize your fun. Dark Star Jubilee 2016: Thornville, May 27-29

The 5th annual Legend Valley Dark Star Jubilee is back in Thornville this summer for three days full of music and camping. Featuring Hot Tuna Electric, Leftover Salmon, The Wailers and Hot Tuna Acoustic to name a few, you won't want to miss these great bands as well as the opportunity to see fire spinners, crowd performers and the chance to engage in hippie individual and group activities. 3-Day GA Tickets are $139. (Danielle Immerman)

Nelsonville Music Festival 2016: Nelsonville, June 2-5

The middle-of-nowhere town of Nelsonville, Ohio becomes an indie music mecca one weekend a year for Nelsonville Music Festival, and this year's lineup is sure to draw as big a crowd as ever. "You've Got a Friend in Me" singer-songwriter Randy Newman is set to headline, and he'll be supported by some of the biggest underground names of the past few years — expect relative megastars Mac DeMarco and Courtney Barnett to draw quite the crowd. Single day tickets start at $50, and weekend passes are $140 for non-Nelsonville residents. (Eli Shively)

Spring Badfish 2016: Nelson Ledges, June 3-5

Sublime-tribute band Badfish is returning to the Quarry for another legendary two-night performance on Friday and Saturday, June 3rd and 4th along with several other phenomenal bands. In addition to the amazing live music, you'll enjoy hiking, biking, camping, cliff diving, sunbathing and more. If you love summer and if you love music, then Spring Badfish is not to be missed. Tickets are $45-75. (Immerman)

Classic Fest: Nelson Ledges, June 10-12

As one of Nelson Ledges' most popular shows of the year, Classic Fest will no doubt be a weekend to remember. Featuring Pink Floyd tribute band Several Species, Led Zeppelin tribute band Kashmir, Rolling Stones tribute band Satisfaction and many more, you'll leave Classic Fest with a greater appreciation and love for classic rock. Tickets are $45-75. (Immerman)

The Claypool Lennon Delirium: Nelson Ledges, June 17-19

Les Claypool of Primus and John Lennon's son, Sean Lennon, are not only releasing their debut album The Claypool Lennon Delirium, but they're also scheduled to perform live at Nelson Ledges. Not only will you be able to enjoy amazing music, but you'll also be able to camp, hike, swim, cliff dive and more. What could be better than classic summer fun and amazing live music? Tickets are $50-90. (Immerman)

Clifton Art and Musicfest: Cleveland, June 18

Set in Cleveland's Cudell/Edgewater neighborhood, the Clifton Arts and Musicfest features both fine art and live music in a classic street festival format. A juried art exhibition is the festival's centerpiece, offering a venue for artists around the country to display their work as well as an opportunity to win a cash prize. Not only will art and music draw the focus of nearly 40,000 annual festival-goers, but the pride, history, and diversity of the Cleveland area as well. (Immerman)

Random Hero Festival II: Cleveland Agora, June 20

Celebrating the life of Ryan Dunn, Random Hero Festival II will feature Mushroomhead, CKY, Bam Margera's Fuckface Unstoppable and Backwoods Playback. For fans of hard rock and metal, you won't want to miss this night full of great live music. Tickets are $25. (Immerman)

Waterloo Arts Fest: Cleveland, June 25

Set in Cleveland's vibrant Waterloo Road neighborhood, the free Waterloo Arts Fest offers an annual arts and music experience for all ages. Food trucks, musicians, and art vendors will all be present for an event that truly celebrates all things local. (Shively)

Grateful Fest 2016 with Willie Nelson & Kris Kristopherson: Nelson Ledges, July 1-4

Celebrate the fourth of July the right way with amazing live performances by Willie Nelson, Kristopherson, Keller Williams and Melvin Seals to name a few. You won't want to miss this phenomenal weekend of live music. Tickets are $150. (Immerman)

Red, White and Brew Music Festival: Cleveland, July 4

The Cleveland Aquarium in the Flats will be celebrating the Fourth this year in true Cleveland fashion: Fireworks, craft beer, and great local music are the main attractions at the fifth annual Red, White and Brew fest. Headlining the waterfront stage will be Cloud Nothings, a hometown punk act that's earned national acclaim for their excellent LPs Attack on Memory and Here and Nowhere Else. A variety of food trucks will also be present at the event, and the Aquarium will be open during the festival from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $14 for kids, and $75 for VIP. (Shively)

LOVE FEST Music Festival: Chardon, July 9

This free fest held in Chardon Square features both locally and nationally known rock, folk, psych, and more. It also boasts a drum circle, interactive art exhibits, tie dye and performances from the winners of their teen songwriting contest. Toronto alt-folk septet Beams will headline.(Shively)

LaureLive 2016: Cleveland, June 11-12

Branded as Northeast Ohio's first and only multi-day, multi-stage and multi-act contemporary music festival, LaureLive is kicking off its inaugural year with two days full of music, art, food and fun. What some might consider a small-scale Lollapalooza, LaureLive is bringing in internationally acclaimed acts like Grace Potter, O.A.R, Andy Grammer, Elle King and Ra Ra Riot to name a few. If you're a fan of rock, pop or alternative music, then you won't want to miss this. Single day tickets are $65, full-weekend general admission is $115, full-weekend VIP is $400.(Immerman)

Jamboree in the Hills: Belmont, July 14-17

For over 36 years, fans of country music have flocked to the rolling hills of eastern Ohio to take part in this four-day outdoor music festival. With wild contests and activities beginning the prior Monday, the campground eventually turns into a 25 hour live music extravaganza featuring some of the best names in country music. This year fans will be treated to performances by Kid Rock, Brad Paisley, Easton Corbin, Tyler Farr and Jake Owen to name a few. Tickets are $75-235. (Immerman)

Agumboot Music Festival: Cleveland, July 15

Backed by a community crowdfunding campaign, AGUMBOOT is an indie-alternative summer music festival. Welcoming emerging artists from across the United States, the festival will be hosted on the coastline of Cleveland on Friday, July 15th, so mark your calendar if you're a fan of indie and alternative music. Lineup and tickets will be available soon. (Immerman)

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